Pattachitra, the heritage art form of Odisha

The Story Of Pattachitra: The Heritage Art Of Odisha

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Odisha, the land of Lord Jagannath is well known for the ancient art form, Pattachitra. One of the many art forms to have survived over thousand years, Pattachitra is like a historical chronicle of our country through time.

Pattachitra evolved from Sanskrit, Where “Patta” means Canvas/cloth, and “Chitra” means picture. Hence, Pattachitra is a painting made on cloth canvas.

This form of art is closely related to Shri Jagannath and the temple traditions in Puri. Believed to have originated as early as the 12th century, it is one of the most popular living art forms across the world.

About 14 km from Puri, Raghurajpur is a town where Pattachitra artists live and work on these masterpieces. This is also the only village in India where each family is engaged in crafts and various other art forms.

Here are some amazing facts about this ancient art form:

1. A single Pattachitra painting takes months to complete.

A single Pattachitra painting takes at least five to 15 days, while some even taking months to complete. The timing to make one Pattachitra painting depends upon the level of complexity and size of the paintings. However, it takes years of practice, dedication and skill for an artisan to carve a flawless and magnificent piece.

Pattachitra In Odisha

2. Original Pattachitra paintings are made from 100% natural materials.

A lot goes into preserving the original appeal of this art form, and the artists of Odisha seemed to have mastered the art. What gives Pattachitra an edge over other art forms is the fact that the colours used are 100% natural and are prepared by the artists using ancient methods.

Pattachitra In Odisha

3. Pattachitra art is believed to be the illustrated story books of the olden days.

The main themes of Pattachitra paintings have always been inspired by Lord Jagannath. Many Pattachitra paintings are amazing representations of stories of Lord Jagannath and Radha-Krishna, the ten incarnations of Vishnu, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and many more.

Pattachitra In Odisha

4. Pattachitra paintings are known for their floral borders.

Pattachitra is a disciplined form of art with set rules and restrictions. A floral border is a must in Pattachitra paintings, and so is the use of natural colours, restricting them to a single tone. This creates a distinct look and feel that is typical to Pattachitra.

Pattachitra In Odisha

5. Pattachitra art usually runs in the family.

Generally, Pattachitra art is practiced by the entire family of chitrakars. While the women prepare the glue, the canvas and help out in filling the borders, the master painter, usually a male, draws the initial sketch and gives the final touches to the painting.

Pattachitra In Odisha

6. Pattachitra paintings are not just restricted to cloth and canvas. 

The creativity of Pattachitra artists is not just limited to canvas and cloth. They celebrate the art form by painting on the outer walls of their houses and the various objects such as coconut, wood etc.

Pattachitra In Odisha

Over the years the art form has evolved and has experienced visible changes. Because of the precise methodology of the art, it survives, keeping the spark of the aesthetic Pattachitra. The folk paintings are internationally known, and the setting up of centers to teach the art form in Odisha which shows its consistency and popularity.

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